Business

Scottish couple's relief after jewellery collection is recovered from Co Antrim waste facility

Danny McErlain and Vytautus Skurdauskis who helped recover the jewellery from RiverRidge’s Mallusk facility.

A SCOTTISH couple have expressed their relief after a Northern Ireland company retrieved their jewellery collection from a waste facility in Mallusk.

Retired schoolteacher Kathleen McKimmon and husband Eric, from Cupar, near Fife, accidentally dumped their precious belongings during a day trip to Belfast earlier this month.

The six necklaces, three rings and charm bracelet were scooped up with a number of plastic bags and dumped at Sprucefield during a rest stop on the way back to Omagh, where the couple were staying with friends and family.

Recalling the irony of the loss, Kathleen said she had only decided to take the jewellery with her on the trip after losing her entire collection during a home break-in a number of years ago.

The loss, which she discovered the following day, prompted a frantic search.

“When we realised what had happened, we drove back to Sprucefield to see if there was any chance of retrieving the jewellery but as expected, the bins had been emptied.

“At this stage, I had lost all hope of ever being reunited with my jewellery collection again.”

But a conversation with John McGuigan at M&S Sprucefield put the couple in touch with waste management firm RiverRidge.

The company’s senior commercial manager, Pamela Jordan, said waste is typically processed at one of its three facilities on the day of collection, meaning recovering an item mistakenly thrown out is very rare.

But she said a search was nonetheless mounted.

“When I received Kathleen’s email on Monday morning, I knew how distressing this must have been for her,” said Pamela.

“However, given the nature of our business and the large amount of waste we collect, we were unsure about what the outcome would be.

“We always try to accommodate as best we can though, and after contacting our operations manager at the Mallusk facility, Danny McErlain, the team got to work – literally on their hands and knees seeing if any of the jewellery could be recovered.”

Waiting to board their ferry back to Scotland, devastated at the bitter loss, Kathleen recalled how the call from Pamela felt like divine intervention.

“I couldn’t believe it, I was elated. I am so grateful to everyone who helped out along the way – from the team at M&S Sprucefield, to Pamela, and all the team at RiverRidge who went above and beyond to retrieve the jewellery. Everyone was so incredible.

“We hear so many stories about unhelpful people and poor customer service, but rarely about the good.

“On this occasion, nobody could have been more helpful, comforting and reassuring. My sincere thanks to everyone who was involved.”

Enjoy reading the Irish News?

Subscribe now to get full access